Helping our patients to connect

In the wake of COVID-19 restrictions, inpatients across St John of God Health Care now have a new way to stay connected to their caregivers and loved ones.

1 Jul 2021

In 2020, the opportunity to see and contact loved ones was hard to come by. This was exacerbated for people in locked down cities, who were also in hospital with no smartphone device.telehealth ipad initiative

There is a clear link between social connectivity and mental wellbeing. So the restrictions to visitors throughout 2020 challenged our teams to explore new ways to keep our patients connected to loved ones while getting the care they need. The digital health solution iPads for patients was successfully rolled out across hospitals at an amplified pace.

The project enabled inpatients who do not have access to a smart device, to video chat with their loved ones via WebEx and if infection control precautions were in place the iPads could also be used by caregivers for clinical consultations and to communicate with patients.

St John of God Berwick Hospital Acting Allied Health Manager Adri Pretorius said that during the COVID-19 lockdown the iPads were a way to connect people.
“We received residents from an aged care home who were distressed, disorientated and away from their families, and due to circumstances had to be isolated,” she said.
“Connecting the patients with their families through technology led to some really special moments.”

St John of God Geelong Hospital Allied Health Manager Toby Vague said the technology will continue to be used as part of business as usual processes. 

“The technology allows the team to provide inpatient telehealth rapid assessments and clinical care for patients in instances where caregivers are not able to attend the patient in person,” he said.
“This means being able to protect our caregivers and our patients, as well as manage our PPE supplies, while continuing our service provision.
The initiative was rolled out by the Telehealth Project team with Pastoral Care and Allied Health caregivers being champions of this valuable initiative at the hospitals. 
The iPads for patients is another way that we are connecting our patients with the people they care about most. 

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